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Jill Donaldson and Troubadour win the Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship at GLEF Week Five.

Jill Donaldson and Troubadour

Alliy Moyer and Carlson

Kendall Meijer and Breckenridge

Kendall Meijer and Breckenridge

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Jill Donaldson and Troubadour Capture Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG) http://www.stadiumjumping.com/sj/index.cfm
Release Date: 2016-08-14

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 14, 2016 – The Amateur-Owner Hunter division features an array of talented riders, ranging from college equestrians to retired corporate employees, offering an outlet for equestrians of any age to continue to follow their hearts and their passion. On Sunday morning, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Five concluded with the Amateur-Owner Hunters taking center stage in the Polk Main Hunter Ring, and it was neurosurgeon Jill Donaldson who captured the championship with Troubadour.

“Where there is a will, there is a way,” Donaldson smiled. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Donaldson stays active with a full day Neurosurgical Care, and then finishes her day with her second home, the barn. “My day starts very early and I try to get as much done in the morning as possible. I am the last person in the barn in the evening, and it is a late supper every day. It is worth it. It is something I truly enjoy, and it is something my husband supports.”

Donaldson competed for years in the show jumping discipline, but more recently, she began showing Troubadour, a 9-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding.

“He reminds me a lot of a horse that I showed as a kid,” Donaldson laughed. “He has the recessive coloring with the flaxen mane and tail, and reminds me so much of my junior hunter. I have a special attachment to him. He is kind of quirky, a class clown, and he always has an opinion, although it is generally good, and he loves to do his job.”

Donaldson keeps Troubadour in a very consistent program at Meadowview Farm with trainer Tammy Provost, and in their three and a half years together, he has thrived with the program, as well as the attention the grooms and fellow barn mates are known shower on him.

“He loves attention, and he will do anything to get it,” Donaldson described. “He is just a fun horse. He loves to work every single day. I arrive, his ears are up and he is ready to go. The courses were great this week—straightforward and the ring was nice and big, which was great for him. Everything was done just beautifully, I really love coming to this show.”

Donaldson sealed the championship with three second place finishes over fences, as well as the first place under saddle. Alliy Moyer and Carlson took the lead on the opening day with two first place finishes, and narrowly missed the championship tricolor, claiming the reserve.

It was Kendall Meijer and Breckenridge who captured the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic victory. Meijer rode to the first round score of 85 points, and then returned to duplicate her effort for a solid second round score of 83 points. She captured the win aboard Breckenridge with a cumulative score of 168 points.

“He was so good,” Meijer said. “He went in there more relaxed than usual, and he always jumps a 10. I just kept him straight, and he performed great. He tries so hard, and he just wants to please you. We have taken our time with him, and he is perfect in the Amateur-Owner Hunters. He has a huge stride, and there is never a problem getting down the lines.”

Meijer rides with Cathy and Hillary Johnson of Meadowview Farm, thriving to stay consistent in her riding so she can stay competitive in the Amateur-Owner and Adult Hunter divisions.

“I ride as much as I can,” Meijer explained. “I try to go out to the barn as many days in a week as I can, so that I can stay consistent and so that the horses can do what I know they can do.”

Donaldson picked up the second place behind Meijer, falling just shy of the win with scores of 83 and 76 points for a 159-point total. Laura Obermeyer and Samwise rounded out the top three with 150 points.

Meijer concluded, “I love it here. This is my favorite show. I don’t think that there is any place better to spend the summer than in Northern Michigan. The management has done a great job. I have been coming here 8 years, and I love it.”

Series Two kicked off on August 10 and will run through August 28, featuring three weeks of hunter and jumper competition with a FEI CSI2* rating Week Five and Six and a FEI CSI3* rating during Week Seven, culminating in the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix on Sunday, August 28. Hunter highlights include the USHJA National Hunter Derby, which will take place each Sunday through the end of the second series.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is set on 88 beautiful acres and showcases five world-class competition rings in addition to spacious schooling rings. The property features do not stop there as the park offers convenient on-site campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.

For more information or to view schedules, please visit mmg.management or www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.

 

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